Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

"labials', which are formed by the lips; those “dentals', which are formed by the teeth".

Again, on page 35, he says; “ The vocal sem owels may be subdivided into pure

"and impure. The pure are those which are “ formed entirely by the voice: the impure, such

as have a mixture of breath with the voice." In this passage, the latter part of the sentence should have the same pronoun as the former part. Lindley Murray should have said ;—“The pure “are those which are formed entirely by the 'voice; the impure, those which have a mixture “ of breath with the voice."

In reading the following sentence, on page 315 of Lindley Murray's 'Grammar', we are in doubt at first, as to what the relative pronoun "whichrefers to :" The propriety or impropriety of many phrases, in

“ the preceding as well as in some other forms,

may be discovered, by supplying the words " that are not expressed; which will be evident from the following instances of erroneous con

“ struction.” Lindley Murray's sentence is, itself, an “in"stance of erroneous construction”. He should have said;—" this will be evident”; for, which, being both singular and plural, may refer either

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to the circumstance, or to the words, spoken of; whereas, this", being singular only, must refer to the circumstance.

One more example. On page 425, Lindley Murray says; “Authors sometimes plead the difficulty of their

“subject, as an excuse for their want of per“spicuity. But the excuse can rarely, if ever, “be admitted. For [,] whatever a man conceives clearly, he may,

if he will be at the trouble, put “it into distinct propositions, and express it “clearly to others : and upon no subject ought any man to write, where he cannot think

"clearly." Lindley Murray evidently forgot, that, as personal pronouns are used to supply the place of nouns, there is not, except in emphatic sentences, any necessity for using in the same part of a sentence, both the noun, and the pronoun which represents the noun: e.g., Shenstone says ;

“My banks they are furnished with bees

“Whose murmur invites one to sleep.”—p. 284. On page 234, Lindley Murray condemns the error; yet, in the sentence of his which I have quoted above, he falls into it; as a very few words will show. Omit the parenthetical clause

66

which is in his sentence, and you will find that he says ;-“Whatever a man conceives clearly, “he may put it into distinct propositions, and

express it clearly to others". The pronoun it”, in each instance, should have been omitted.

The last clause of the sentence is equally faulty; it reads thus :-“Upon no subject ought any man to write, where he cannot think “clearly." Where", being an adverb of place, is unsuitably employed in this instance. Lindley Murray should have said ;—Upon no subject

ought any man to write, upon which he cannot “think clearly.” We write upon a subject; and we think upon a subject; but we cannot say that we think in a subject. Yet that is what Lindley Murray's language implies.

A strange error occurs on page 486. He there says;

“ We shall enumerate the principal figures, and give

them some explanation.”

Of course he means ;-"and give some expla“nation of them.

These are, certainly, remarkable errors for an author to commit when actually writing on the improprieties of the English langauge.

CRITICISM IV.

LINDLEY MURRAY.

DR. BLAIR says, and Lindley Murray quotes the words ;-"All that regards the study of compo“sition, merits the higher attention upon this

account, that it is intimately connected with “the improvement of our intellectual powers. “For I must be allowed to say, that when we

are employed, after a proper manner, in the “study of composition, we are cultivating the "understanding itself. The study of arranging "and expressing our thoughts with propriety, “teaches to think, as well as to speak accu"rately."

It is evident, however, that all Lindley Murray's study of arranging and expressing his thoughts “with propriety”, did not teach him to speak accurately; at least, not accurately according to his own rules. Judging him by his own standard, he errs in the use of even the articles.

On page 320, he tells us that it is incorrect to

[ocr errors]

say ;-"A house and orchard; because as there is, in the expression, but one article, it is understood as referring to both nouns; and though we may say ;-"A house", we may not say ;-"A “orchard”. The expression, then, should be ;A house and an orchard”. This being Lindley Murray's rule, let us see how his language conforms to it. Page 52.—“Words duly combined produce a sentence;

“and sentences properly combined produce an

“oration or discourse.” i.e., an oration or [an] discourse”! Page 517.—“A sentiment which is expressed in ac

“curate language, and in a period, clearly, neatly, “and well arranged, always makes a stronger impression on the mind, than one that is expressed "inaccurately, or in a feeble or embarrassed

“manner.” i.e., “ in a feeble or [a] embarrassed manner”! Vol. II., page 7.—“The compiler would have deemed

“himself culpable, had he exhibited such sentences as contained ideas inapplicable to young minds,

or which were of a trivial or injurious nature.” i.e., of a trivial or [a] injurious nature”!

It is the notion of plurality, contained in these passages, which necessitates the repetition of the article.

« PreviousContinue »